World Bank notes potential for 210,000 mini-grids this decade


The World Bank has estimated 210,000 mini-grids could provide electricity to 490 million people this decade, with that figure announced at a webinar focusing on the local networks in Africa.

Tatia Lemondzhava, an energy specialist at the multilateral development finance institution, told an event organized by Solarplaza, falling prices could see mini-grids offer electricity to as many as 500 million people by 2030, the deadline for achieving the United Nations sustainable development goal of providing universal energy access.

With Bangladesh preparing to announce on Monday that it has achieved that historic goal, the online event predicted Nigeria would need US$10 billion of the US$200 billion the World Bank estimates will be needed to supply universal access in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan will each need US$7-10 billion, according to Lemondzhava, and each of Angola, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe will require US$4-7 billion of investment.

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Some US$155 billion of the US$200 billion total will be needed for household electricity access – US$62 billion on off-grid systems and US$93 billion for the expansion of grid networks – and a further US$40 billion would fund panels for schools, health centers, and clean cooking facilities, as well as funding the right enabling environment for such projects to be installed, according to the World Bank representative.

Lemondzhava added, the development body has already invested US$1 billion in mini-grids over the last decade while attracting US$1.1 billion from public and private sector partners.

This copy was amended on 31/03/22 to reflect the 490/500 million people, and 210,000 mini-grid figures, were estimates by the World Bank of the potential of the technology not, as was previously reported, that the lender aims to achieve those targets through its own activity.

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